Monday, June 12, 2006

"I just ran a truckload of Mexicans off the road..."

I'm driving along, minding my own business. I come around a corner and there's this guy standing out in the middle of the road wanting me to stop.

Philip McNutt: "I just ran a truckload of Mexicans off the road!"

Me: "Sweet! Can I see?"

Philip: "Down there."

Me: "That's like a hundred feet!"

Phil: "Rolled about 40 times. Here's my phone. Call 911. I tried and couldn't get a signal. I'm going down to check on 'em."

Me: "I'll just lock my doors first."

911: "911."

Me: "Truckload of Mexicans ran off the road. Three miles south of Vienna on Highway 63. By the Gasconade river."

911: "Sweet!"

Me: "I know, right?"

911: "Anyone hurt?"

Me: "They ran off a 100ft cliff and rolled 40 times. "

911: "Sweet! K, be right out. Wait. Where are you?"

Me: "Highway 63, 3 miles south of Vienna."

911: "What's the mile marker?"

Me: "Dunno. Don't see one. I'm guessing the Mexicans hit it when they went over the cliff."

911: "That ain't good. We'd come out, but we don't know where you are. Do you have a GPS?"

Me: "You in luck, hoss. Got one right here. Hold on - it's starting up."

(30 seconds passes)

Me: "OK, It says I'm about three miles south of Vienna on Highway 63. Coordinates XXYYZZ. Three miles south of Vienna. Right next to the Gasconade River."

911: "OK, I got you on map now. " "Oh! By Moorelands All You Can Eat Catfish?"

Me: "Yeah, I guess, I'm not that much of a catfish eater."

911: "Catfish is goooooood! Their batter is goooooood!"

Me: "So it's not really true that fish makes you smarter?"

911: "Huh?"

Me: "Never mind. How long is it going to you take to get here?"

911: "'bout 30, 45 minutes."

Me: "That's terrible!"

911: "Why?"

Me: "'cause we're 3 minutes from Vienna. If Domino's took that long the pizza would be free."

911: "Well they hit my mile marker."

Me: "If they die they won't be able to buy you a new one."

911: "We'll hurry."

(45 minutes later)

Me: "That took 45 minutes!"

Hot Amalance chick: "You'd have been better off calling Domino's."

Me: "Why are you dressed that way?"

Hotchick: "We were canoeing."

Me: "Gasconade?"

Hotchick: "Yeah."

Me: "So you got to shore..."

HC: "...at Moorelands."

Me: "Then you drove to Rolla, got the amalance, then drove back?"

HC: "Yup."

Me: "Because they wouldn't know who you were without it?"

HC: "It helps."

Me: "So why aren't you doing anything for them?"

HC: "No gloves. It's illegal for me to touch them without gloves."

Me: "The amalance is out?"

HC: "We were in a hurry and got one that just got back from the shop."

Me: "So, nice tan you've got going there. Really brings out the color in your eyes."

HC: "Really think so?"

Me: "Yeah. So is that your husband, or ...?"

HC: "Partner. He drives 'em, I shock 'em. Usually only if they need it."

Me: "They always need it?"

HC: "Yeah, pretty much."

Me: "Doing anything later?"

HC: "Heading back to Rolla, probably."

Me: "Cool. So gloves on the way?"

HC: "Yeah, it's only three miles to Vienna. How far down you think that is?"

Me: "'bout 100ft. They rolled 40 times."

HC: "Sweet! That's a new record for me. You run 'em off the road?"

Me: "Nope. I was heading south at about 90MPH, and Phil jumped out in front of me. Luckily I got stopped before I hit him."

HC: "Thanks."

Me: "Hey, no problem. You wanna get together and do something after you're done here?"

HC: "It's trivia night at Applebees. You can come if you want. I usually get pretty drunk."

Me: "Yeah, all this excitement has made me kinda hungry."

HC: "What sounds good?"

Me: "Mexican."

HC: "Tacos?"

Me: "Why, you have a friend you wanna bring along?"

HC: "Huh?"

Me: "Never mind."

(45 minutes passes)

HC: "Oh, Taco! I get it! Hehehe."



Saturday, June 03, 2006

It was a day for standing...

I remember a day when everyplace I went had a place for guys to sit and watch football while the wife/girlfriend shopped. This was not one of those days - instead it was chock-full of standing in the heat and waiting.

Went to the Apple store in West county mall to check out the 13" MacBook. The MacBook is terrible - it's satin black instead of a gloss, was heavy for its size, has a 100% flat keyboard which was difficult to use, and will not be the next status symbol no matter how hard they try.

But I did pick up on the experience they're selling:

Despite the hardwood floor and a place full of customers, the place was really quiet. They had partitions that hid things like software, accessories, tech support from the view of the person walking by the store. All you see if you walk by or walk into the front of the store are the new PCs and iPods. All graphics on the walls were iPod, and the iPod pod was set front and center in the store, so that's what they're pushing.

There was a definite Feng Shui feel to the layout - it was very ordered. The layout made sense. I knew where to look for stuff. Over and over again from the salespeople, I heard the same thing: "My friend just got (not bought) one of those, and they've never been happier."

They're selling peace and quiet, order, and happiness. It's pretty much The Gap, applied to technology. (I checked, and there was no The Gap in the mall.)


Then I'm walking along in a Hawaiian shirt with two large shopping bags full of tackle boxes and marked "Dick's", checking out the other shops, and stumbled on a "Sony Style" store. It was dark, full of high energy Japanese guys straight out of "That 80's Show" and pretty much the opposite of the Apple store. Lots of standing, but no one was buying anything.

In what had to be the product of a "Location location" seminar, was a 5ft x 5ft Dell cart, right in front of the Victoria's Secret store. It one of those little carts that just screams "I'm too poor to afford a whole store, and don't trust me because of that." They had some 40" displays and a few Dimensions and Inspiron laptops and a Build-It-Yourself and it ships tomorrow application running on one facing the aisle. More standing.

Went to the REI to checkout GPSes. They had like 30 employees standing around doing nothing, all of whom biked to work, no air conditioning, a sign advertising that they're looking out for the environment by not having AC. I stood there for an hour waiting for one of the employees to get off break.

Went to BMW to get yet another window regulator and a suspension tilt sensor that aims the Xenon headlights, and stood there for 2 hrs in line waiting for Franz to find the parts in the back. I was in line behing the overly-energetic japanese guy from That 80's Show. My parts came to $260, with my 20% BMW Car Club discount already applied (even though I'm not a member). The place seemed to be staffed by 15 attractive 20yr old ladies, and Franz the parts guy.

I needed a hard drive, so I went to CompUSA. It was dark, I frequent the place and still couldn't find what I wanted, the Mac area had all the accessories right up front and looked really trashy, the thing I bought had like 3 rebates I have to send off for, there was one register open with like 10 people in front of me in line. I stood there for like an hour, and when I walked out, I had a headache, felt nauseous, my legs hurt, and it was all I could do to stagger to the car.

Hmm - it's hot, and I must have got overheated and forgotten to eat lunch. I'll stop by Quicktrip and get a slurpee and some Tylenol on the way out of town. 20 minutes later I'm sitting behind the wheel of my BMW, falling asleep from the Tylenol and swerving all over I-44 at like 95MPH. Barely made it back to Rolla.